This past Wednesday, thousands of people gathered at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington D.C. Their stated purpose was to hold a peaceful protest and march in support of the President. As we all now know, however, things turned ugly and deadly when a mob later stormed the Capitol building.
I was keeping tabs on it that morning, as well as the electoral college certification going on in the Chamber. And, like everyone, I was shocked and saddened by what I saw play out during the afternoon. It was an assault on our democratic process, and an attack on our values as a nation.
It can be hard to know what to do after watching events like that. Whatever our political beliefs, we can all agree that violence is unacceptable. After watching a couple hours of coverage, I was upset and dealing with some anger of my own.
That’s when I decided to turn off my television and spend some time with God. There, I found a quiet place to pour out my feelings and to honestly share questions and fears. And I was led to open up my Bible to the book of Psalms, where I always receive encouragement in challenging moments.
Here are a few verses the Holy Spirit brought to mind Wednesday night, and some of what I lifted up in prayer. I hope God’s Word brings you the same sense of rest and hope that it brought to me.
1. A Prayer for Anxiety
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:10-11).
As I watched the events unfold at the Capitol today, I grew more and more anxious - chaos was breaking out, and it shook me up. But then I remembered David’s words that with You by his side he would not be shaken. I’m grateful for the confidence that gives me now.
So like David, I praise You for being our Almighty and All-knowing God. No matter how crazy things may seem sometimes here on Earth, You are never caught off-guard or unprepared, and Your plans always stand firm.
Help me to look above and beyond all the turmoil that is in our nation, to see that You are still sovereign. Father, give me the wisdom to be quiet rather than act or speak impulsively. Even when I’m upset, lead me to trust that You will work, in Your way and Your time.
I pray this in Jesus’ name.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Yolya
2. A Prayer for Comfort
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
Television usually provides me with entertainment and enjoyment. But today, news reports replayed acts of rage and moments of violence from Washington D.C. over and over on my screen. After seeing so many disturbing images it’s hard to settle myself.
But You, Father, offer comfort and healing for troubled minds. Your Word is full of people who cried out to You and found rest. I am so thankful for the peace You promise us, whatever hour of the day or night.
I give praise that You are my Protector, and that You watch over us every moment. And as I grow more assured of Your presence, my daily walk and my sleep will be so much sweeter.
In Jesus’ Name I pray.
3. A Prayer to See God’s Power
“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:10-11).
My God in Heaven,
In D.C. today, an unruly mob took over a peaceful gathering and caused destruction, injury, and even death. Seeing it play out, I felt shock and sadness, and realized how very small I am in this big world. But Scripture tells us that those who love You are not helpless and alone.
I rejoice that You, Lord, are great in power, yet abounding in love. Open my eyes to clearly see how You’re working during such a scary moment in our nation. Help me to accept and even embrace the truth of my “small-ness,” and to get a glimpse of how awesome You really are.
I give praise that no matter how overwhelming events in this world may be, You are still supreme, still The Lord of Lords. Let my hope and strength come from giving You worship.
In Jesus’ Name.
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4. A Prayer for Humility and Grace
“I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly” (Psalm 85:5).
Scenes like the ones in Washington D.C. always grieve me. The brutality that people are capable of still surprises me. And if I’m not careful, I can get very stirred up in my own spirit.
Father, at times like these I become so aware of Your goodness to us. In our human-ness, we are so undeserving of anything from You. Yet because of what Jesus did on the cross, You have regard for us. The grace You pour down on us continues to amaze me.
I feel burdened to pray, for myself and others, that we would not take these blessings for granted. Let us be grateful for each gift we receive. With every touch, turn us toward You, so that our hearts become more aligned with Yours.
I pray in Jesus’ Name.
5. A Prayer to Be Peacemakers
“Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace” (Psalm 37:37).
You have designed us with emotions, as a way to connect with each other and the world. But all too often, people let feelings drive them, which can lead them into trouble. Those at the Capitol who acted on their anger today inflicted pain, and their rampage left only damage in its wake.
Lord, I pray right now that You will make me into a sower of peace. The Apostle Paul wrote that You are a “God of peace,” and I want to follow Your Ways. Show me how to let love motivate me to speak and act, and give me a desire to encourage instead of tear down.
Help me, God, to be bold as I go out. Right now, there are people who don’t even want to think about peace. So I ask for Your grace to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Doing that may not change the world, but it will remind people that there is a better way.
In Jesus’ Name.
As God’s people, it’s natural and right for us to grieve when we see people decide to use violence as a way to solve problems. The Lord wants to soothe the hurt we feel, and to teach us that we can be part of making a difference going forward. Being in His Presence and His Word will equip us to be active in bringing more of His peace to the world.
“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165).
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Geoff Livingston
Heather Adams is an author, speaker, and singer living in Connecticut. Heather’s passion is to equip and encourage believers to seek more of God’s truth and to experience more of His joy each day. Her book, Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper is a practical, 30-day devotional about worship based on the writings of King David. Heather's blog, Worship Walk Ministries, offers weekly Scripture passages and insights to ponder. A native New Englander, Heather is settling into her home in the South, trying out local foods and watching for the alligators that live nearby! You can connect with her on her website: heatheradamsworshipwalk.com